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New York 2010: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco is efficient, not a stripper

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Filed under: New York Auto Show, Sedan, Chevrolet

cruseeco.jpg
2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco - click above for high-res image gallery

For the past week, we've been hearing all about the latest iteration of the Chevrolet Cruze, the 40-mpg Eco model. While the name is rather uninspired (Eco's the best they got?), the technology that allows the Cruze Eco to hit that lofty number is anything but. Here's the really interesting part: Chevy is claiming that fully 70% of Cruzes will feature the 1.4-liter variable-valve timing turbo I-4, including the Eco model. But wait a moment, how does the Cruze Eco achieve such lofty mileage with the same engine (same power, too - 138 horsepower @4,900 rpm, 148 pound-feet of torque @1,850 rpm)? Keep reading.

Starting with the front of the Eco, there's a new, wind tunnel-massaged front fascia complete with a class-first "Aero Shutter." Take a look at the air inlet area below the grill. During low speed driving (say stop and start city type stuff) the aero shutter is open. However, at higher speeds when cooling the turbocharged engine isn't as much of an issue, the shutter shuts, allowing air to more efficiently stream around the vehicle.

There's also a slim lower chin spoiler and "tire blockers," which we typically call spats. Moving on to the rear, there's a new fascia back there that's also been wind tunnel tested for more slippery-ness. Surface area is further decreased by lowering the car by 10 mm compared to other Cruzes. There's a full-body underpanel to keep air from getting hung up on stuff like the exhaust and suspension components, as well as ultra low rolling resistance tires shared with the Volt. Finally, there's an ultra-tall 6th gear (the Cruze Eco is manual-only) that allows the rpms to greatly drop when the vehicle is at cruising speed.

As you may imagine, Chevy has also done its very best to reduce mass as much as possible, going to far as to shave welds down by a millimeter. But here's the thing: while working on the body in white, Chevy discovered that the mass-saving measures they made to the Eco could easily be applied to other Cruze models, which means that the not-quite-yet-on sale Cruze will have across the board improved mileage. Nice, no? The Chevy Cruze should go on sale in the 3rd quarter of 2010 with the Eco (probably) making it out of the gate by the 4th quarter of this year.

As far as the seemingly random "not a stripper" fragment in the title goes, Chevrolet has made the decision not to totally decontent the Eco. According to Chevy, people's tastes are changing (ya think?) and they want high mileage vehicles to have lots of creature comforts. For instance, the Eco ships with 17-inch forged aluminum wheels. Nice. Make the jump to read the press release.



Live photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

Continue reading New York 2010: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco is efficient, not a stripper

New York 2010: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco is efficient, not a stripper originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 31 Mar 2010 15:54:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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I like the color, the wheels not so much.

I think it should sell pretty well...

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I don't think this color is all that hot on this car.

I prefer the dark red, or a navy blue, or even a black.

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I don't think this color is all that hot on this car.

I prefer the dark red, or a navy blue, or even a black.

I agree with the blue and red...

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